Defense Says Christie Lied about Bridgegate to Run for President

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The defense presented their closing arguments at the Bridgegate trial this morning where former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and former Port Authority deputy executive director Bill Baroni are charged with orchestrating a political revenge plot.

The defense made it clear this morning, just as it's been clear all along, that Kelly and Baroni were thrown under the bus because Governor Chris Christie wanted to run for president.

“Chris Christie knew about it in August. He knew about it in September. He knew about it in December, and he lied because he knew it would affect his presidential campaign,” Michael Critchley told federal jurors Monday in Newark.

In his closing argument, Critchley branded Christie and David Wildstein, the admitted mastermind of the traffic plot who pleaded guilty, as self-interested liars who wanted to protect the governor’s 2016 run for the White House.

While Wildstein maintained that he was the real mastermind of Bridgegate during his testimony, what he had to say also didn't paint Kelly and Baroni in a good light. But with that said, if I were one of jurors I would probably be asking myself why Kelly and Baroni are on trial if Wildstein says it was all his idea. I would also be asking why Chris Christie himself is not on trial.

Both the defense and prosecution contend that Christie knew all about the plot to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for refusing to endorse Christie, raising even more questions about the culpability of Kelly and Baroni.

I have no idea how the jury will rule in this case, but the prosecution's position does not seem very strong to me. The overwhelming message has been that others are taking the fall for the governor.

Christie's guilt has been well established by a trial that wasn't even against him.

  • muselet

    There are only three possibilities that I can see:

    1) Chris Christie ordered the lane closures.
    2) Christie knew about the lane closures and did nothing to stop them.
    3) Christie didn’t order or know about the lane closures and is therefore either incompetent or idiotically naive.

    None of those is good for Christie’s carefully-maintained image—a get-it-done leader who’s sensible and willing to work with members of the other political party—and any one of them pretty much buries his presidential ambitions. Good.

    I feel sorry for the jurors, having to decide what to do about the obvious fall guys in this sleazy little story. It’s the sort of dilemma that makes jurors lose sleep.